Thursday, December 11, 2014

Midnight Owl Inro

Ok, it's FINALLY done.  I''ve been working on this complex class for CraftArtEdu for several months now and it's loaded!  The class is broken up into 3 sections. The first covers parts 1 and 2 of the class outline, including how to make a custom inro base and lay out custom cane designs.  The second video section overs part 3 of the class outline, working through various foundation canes used to construct a complex owl cane and then assembling the owl cane.  The last video section contains the last part of the class, where we make up the canes to construct out inro and then put them all together.

With an hour of content, the class covers many great new polymer skill building techniques for anyone who has a good working knowledge of polymer clay, including how to design form to build custom inros around, using pearl ex as a release agent, laying out cane designs, calculating the size canes and amounts of clay you'll need, layering & burnishing canes to make unique scenes, making handcrafted tassles, and how to put it all together.  Watch a preview of this class HERE

Midnight Owl Inro
Midnight Owl InroMidnight Owl Inro

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dragonscale Gems

Dragonscale Jewelry   FINALLY!!! Life is known for throwing you a few twists and turns in your plans, and I had hoped to have this class up a month ago. As the saying goes though, better late than never!
   Dragonscale Gems is my new class on CraftArtEdu and my first full class.  I released two free classes un August.  I'ven been working on this class since mid August along with another very detailed class that I hope to finish in the next few weeks.  This class is a great class for anyone who has caught the polymer clay bug and wants to learn some simple, useful jewelry making techniques.  It includes instructions on how to make a deep blue pearl dragonscale cane using Kato concentrates, how to make a beautiful pendant and earrings using simple templates. how to craft wire bails and earwires, and how to cover a scrap clay bangle form with your dragonscale cane to make a making bangle.  You can customize the techniques learned in this class by changing the color of the dragonscale or even using different canes altogether using the jewelry templates.   Use it to grow your skills and make some trendy jewelry at the same time.  You can find the Dragonscale Gems class at the link HERE.
Dragonscale Earrings Dragonscale Pendant
Dragonscale Pendant Dragonscale Bangle

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Catching the Moon

  I've been working on a pretty big project lately that has me experimenting with several new ideas that I'm hoping will come together in a wonderful, miraculous way.  One of those ideas is a Moon Cane.  There are several design questions that need answering in making this cane.  What color do I start with and will it look more realistic with the light being in the center or on the outside?  I want this cane to be extremely easy to make so how to I make the concept of craters or shadows look realistic without making the cane piece by piece like I would a picture.  What is the proper balance of light to gray in the shadows so they're visible but not focal?
   My first trial was a miserable failure!  Though I like the colors of the piece and overall design, the moon didn't look anything like what I was picturing.  I started with two skinner blends, one yellow and white and the other yellow, white and black with the black being darker toward the yellow end.  I tried to shape where I cut out the shadows and  obscure the edges with bits of my darker end of my skinner blend with the black, but the darker blend was too much of a contrast and the edges too distinct.  You can see the results in the little piece to the right and the finished piece below.
Owl in Moon experiment  My second attempt was a success, as you can see from my finished trial piece above.  The cane doesn't make an exact duplicate of the moon, but gives a good artist likeness for my jewelry pieces.  The following tutorial will be part of my upcoming CraftArtEdu class, "Midnight Owl Inro."  It's a very detailed class made for those of you comfortable with caning and looking to advance your skills.  It included instructions on how to make a custom inro form, how to make the owl that is pictured in the pieces on this blog post, how to make a moon cane and various other simple canes, and then how to put them all together in a very detailed, layered millefiori inro.
   Today though, I'm going to share with you the instructions for my simple moon cane.


1)  Roll out a 2 1/2" square sheet of white clay on the thickest setting of your pasta machine.  Cut a 1/4" right triangle from the bottom edge as shown and replace it with yellow clay.
2)  Form your Skinner blend into a plug with the yellow in the center and the white toward the outside.  Flatten the plug to 1/2" height.
3)  Roll out a 2" square sheet of white clay and cut out a 3/16" right triangle and replace it with yellow clay.  Lay two 1/16" black snakes across the blend to tint it toward the gray.  Accordion fold your tinted Skinner blend into a block.  
4)  Cut two 1/4" circles from your Skinner Plug in the upper left corner and one 3/16" circle in the lower right corner as shown.  Make 3 short cuts from your upper two circles, one in the far right upper going to the right and two in the left going down.
5)  Using a small rod, open the cuts and stretch your openings into a moon shadow shape.
6)  Chop up the circles you removed in step 4 and half the tinted Skinner block into a fine pile of mixed colors.
7)  Pack your chopped up mix into your moon shadow openings.
8)   Reduced the cane and create!  You'll notice in the picture that by using a chopped mixture you will get a random pattern to every slice on your cane, but it also gives soft edges and a hint of shadow and texture. This is a very small cane, but if you were to make a larger cane, the shadow and texture would be finer with more shadow definition.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

PUBLISHED! The Polymer Arts

     Ok and now for change #4.  I'm still pinching myself about this one.  I've written an article for The Polymer Arts and it's going to be published in the upcoming edition.  This has had me nervous and excited - and I'm still feeling like that awkward person who isn't quite sure what she's doing.  It's a big step for me!  Thank you for everything, Sage!!!
    The Article is called Caning by Numbers: Complex Cane Design.  I go through my process of drawing and designing my canes, using graphing paper and math to help me calculate the amount of clay, size of the canes, and the dimensions of my cane for optimal size for reduction.   It's probably more 'geeky' than most polymer articles, but I've found that a little of bit of planning helps me to plan and prepare.  Plus it cuts down on those leftovers bits that you are always trying to find a use for.  =)
     I have a class in the works on CraftArtEdu that goes into the process in more detail in order to make a fun, acorn shaped Inro with complex caned details.  If you have any questions, please just ask.  I think the best way for me to learn as a teacher is to know what my students are looking for.  And thanks for all the patience and support!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Change #3 - New Homepage

     With all the exciting new changes going on, I've done a bit of rebranding.  When I lived in San Antonio, I wanted a shop name and chose "Renaissance Gals of San Antonio" or "rengalsa" for short.  This is still the name of my Etsy shop, but my blog and homepage will now go by Deb Hart Fine Art and Polymer Clay Designs.  New color theme to this blog, that matches my new business cards, and coordinates with my NEW HOMEPAGE!  Now, for those of you who have known me for awhile, I used to have a homepage that was hosted on apple's website hosting when they had iWeb, but with apple's current changes, they have retired the ability to host websites.  I've been hunting for a new venue for awhile that offers the ease and versatility that I wanted, but haven't really had the extra time to fine tune anything.  Well, with all the changes, I've been forcing myself to put in some hours and I'm really liking the way it's coming together.  I still have a long way to go until it's at the point where it flows like I would like it to, but that's going to take some time....and a few more glasses of wine.  =)
    The photo above is a screen shot of the home page.  From the links you can 1) Read more about me, what my history and accomplishments are, and where you can find my work.   2) View a Gallery of my work.  Right now, this is a bit disorganized to me, but contains a lot of images.  In the future, I want to simply break it into post 2009, and then highlights from each year after.  3) A shop for my signature pieces.  Though I will have some pieces in this shop also listed in my Etsy, I am planning on working toward keeping my Etsy shop open for bead and cane sales only and showcasing my signature work on this site.  4) A link to my classes and tutorials, including CraftArtEdu, written tutorials for download on Etsy, and workshops.   5) A link back to this blog.  6) A forum for any questions on my items, tutorials, or just for fun.  7)  A contact form.
   These is a lot of information here for those of you interested, but if anyone has any suggestions or improvements, please feel free to let me know.  I'm kind of a one horse show right now, so I don't always think of everything because other little thoughts keep interfering (darn those voices in my head).  And thank you in advance for giving it a look and for your interest!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Change #2 - Museum of Modern Art

     Ya, when I saw this for the first time - I just sat at my computer in awe for awhile.  It's funny when you get so busy working so hard to just make a dent in the vision you see for yourself in your head, that you get surprised when you get to the point where that vision is no longer IN your head.  (I really hope that makes sense.  lol)  So, to sum it up - I'm now selling my creations in the gift shop at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and did a wonderful demo and trunk show there on August 1.
     I have to do a full hearted thank you to Lorri and all the staff there for making me feel so wonderful and special.  The patrons were amazing and so very interested in watching me create the cane that I was working on (future post - spoilers).   I talked until I had no voice - which wasn't very hard because I was coming down with a bug that kept me in bed the whole weekend afterwards.  I needed the rest though and sometimes being sick is the only way to force me to stop and get it.  It's just all so exciting and I want to make the most of every second of this wonderful life I've been given.
    If you want to visit the Modern Art Museum website you can click on the image above or visit there gift shop at  Their online selection is limited, but visiting the store in person is definitely worth while if you're visiting the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Soooo Busy... So many changes!!!

Magic Swirl Cane
     Where has Deb gone?  I'm sure that all of y'all (been in Texas too long) have been asking yourself just that.  It has been a crazy busy few months and when I haven't had my plate full of activities, I sit down to write something here and zzzzzz....  Well I guess I have to sleep sometime, but I really need to fill you in on all the wonderful changes in my life over the last few months.  I'll fill you in in detail over the next few days, but the first wonderful thing is that I was invited to be an instructor on CraftArtEdu!  I'm still in a state of disbelief about it.  I've taught classes and run craft groups, but I think most of the time when I write here or write a tutorial, it's more creative therapy for me.
     So - deep, dark, secret time - though I can handle group situations now (force of habit), I'm at heart a very deep-seated introvert.  And as such, I still suffer from the eternal question - am I welcome here, wanted, are people enjoying my company or am I just being a darn pest.  (seriously, I think this every day).  So, it was with more amazement than I think I could muster on my own that I accepted CraftArtEdu's invitation to become a instructor.  Though I think I still am a darn pest on a lot of occasions.  =)
Scrap Clay Bangle Forms
    Now that I've got that confession out of my system, I'll also confess that it absolutely drives me crazy to record my voice and listen to it!!!!  So be patient with me as I stutter along and I'll try not to ramble too much.
    Here are the two tutorials that I've already posted on CraftArtEdu.  They're both free, so just click on the link or on the photo and ENJOY!  Make sure to send me questions and any photos your have of your own work - I really truly enjoy both!!!  Magic Swirl Cane - This was shared on my blog in 2012 and Scrap Clay Bangle Forms was shared on this blog in December 2013.


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